College Bound Reflection

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, August 17, 2022
By Erika Fernandez De Castro

Remind yourself: A Reflection on Sending Your Teen Off to College

August is here and the reality that your children are heading off to college can no longer be put aside.

Sure, they are enrolled, and you have had to fill numerous forms, perhaps even applied for housing and meal plans but none of these things seem to fully prepare you for the emotions that come with this next step.

High five sign with books

With August, the planning takes a more serious tone as you realize that the days of your children living under your roof are winding down. Your children are progressing in life and going off to pursue their dreams is everything you wished for them. And yet, you struggle with what that may mean for you.

You become aware that parenting will be different. The anxiety of not being present for them to turn to is coupled with the long-term fear that they may find a life elsewhere that keeps them from coming back home.

Just pondering that they will have to set their own schedules, plan all their meals, monitor their own health and well-being, wash their own clothes, etc.… can be overwhelming for any parent of a first-time college student.

The questions abound.

  • Will they embrace their independence?
  • Will they reach out for help if they are struggling?
  • How will they navigate life in general without us there to catch them when they fall or redirect them when they go off course?

Your children leaving for college is like any other milestone they have navigated in the past. Think of each of the milestones they faced and how we worried as parents. Recall that not too long ago, we struggled with our young children as we sent them off to preschool or Kindergarten.

Think of how we worried about the new high school, driving, rejections, disappointments, college acceptance, and all the other ups and downs along the way. I encourage you to take a pause. If we frame the experience of sending our child off to college with a few reminders, it just may make letting go just a little bit easier.

  • Remind yourself that when they were young children, you dreamt that this would be a possibility for them in their future.
  • Remind yourself that your child will continue to develop their beliefs and priorities from what you have taught them. Have confidence in your child’s ability to lean on their upbringing to make decisions that align with those beliefs and priorities.
  • Remind yourself while we want to protect our children from repeating our mistakes, they will learn best by making theirs. College allows them to grow, learn, manage, and navigate challenges in an academic environment that is a safer microcosm of the real world.
  • Remind yourself that sending them off to college is not a farewell, but a “see you soon!” This sendoff is the beginning of a new way to interact with and relate to your college student.  This transition may spark fear in both you and your child but highlight and embrace with excitement the growth that will blossom from their experience.

Lastly, remind yourself that this is just another step/milestone. For most, it will work as planned. Your child will spend the next several years in their chosen university learning and thriving. For some, it may lead to another path where they will also be learning and thriving. It is just the next step. And I assure you, whether it’s the former or the latter, as their parent, you will continue to play an integral role in this step of their journey.

Just remember to remind yourself.

P.S. To schedule an appointment with Erika, you can reach out to Carolina Navarro, our Intake Coordinator, at 305-445-0477.


BALLOONSWe are so proud – yet so anxious – to see you off to college shine on!